We've been bringing you reports for several days now that Apple is planning to announce some major updates to most of its Mac lines at this years Worldwide Developers Conference. Rumors have pointed to retina display updates for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac, as well as new Intel Ivy Bridge processors all around, and various other updates. The Mac Pro appears to be getting a much-needed update as well.
A new report today, though, suggests that the MacBook Pro may not be getting an update at all. It seems that KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told AppleInsider that Apple will actually be unveiling an entirely new line of laptop computers, simply called the MacBook. It is this new MacBook, Kuo says, that will be getting the retina display, slimmer form factor, and losing the optical drive. The new MacBook, Kuo says, will come in 13-inch and 15-inch models. The 13-inch model will start at $1,199, and the 15-inch model will start at $1,799. He expects Apple to launch the 15-inch model next week, but delay the 13-inch model until August. If the new MacBook sells well enough, Apple will eventually discontinue the MacBook Pro line altogether.
Of course, none of this is confirmed, but it makes good sense. For one thing, the name "MacBook Pro" is an anachronism that doesn't really make sense anymore: it comes from a time when Apple had two separate notebook lines, the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The MacBook was a bit less expensive and a bit less powerful, and had a white plastic body, while the MacBook Pro had beefier specs, an aluminum body, and came in a 17-inch model (the MacBook was only available in 13-inch and 15-inch models). Eventually the 15-inch MacBook was discontinued. Not long after, the 13-inch MacBook Pro was introduced and the 13-inch MacBook also discontinued. It makes sense that Apple would want to drop the "Pro." The way they plan to do that, it seems, is by introducing an entirely new line of MacBooks and phasing out the MacBook Pro.
This also makes sense of a report we brought you a few days ago. Earlier this week a spec sheet that claimed to be for the upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro was leaked. To the surprise of pretty much everyone, it appeared to be only an incremental update, rather than the kind of major overhaul we had been expecting. If Kuo is right, then that spec sheet makes more sense: soon-to-be-announced MacBook will be getting the lion's share of the improvements, while the existing MacBook Pro line will be getting a much more modest feature bump.
But again, nothing is certain yet. We won't know anything for sure until Tim Cook takes the stage at WWDC 2012 on Monday.